Happy Birthday?

Happy Birthday

I have a birthday coming up soon. These days, I tend to approach them with some measure of dread.

It is not, as you may suppose, because I am well past forty and rapidly heading towards the next significant birthday. I have learned from previous experience that those decade celebrations can be an opportunity for growth – a chance to be a little bit braver and to venture a little bit further out of my comfort zone.

No, I awake on my birthday with the ever-present shadow of knowledge that my sister‘s birthday will come five days after mine. And less than a month after that it will be my niece’s birthday and a mere eleven days after that, we will once more live through the reminder of that awful day when they were both taken from us without warning.

By then, all the signs of Christmas approaching will surround us and we will endure the lead up knowing there will always be those empty places at the Christmas table.

am grateful to have another birthday. Truly. I am grateful to be fit and healthy and that I possess a body and mind that do what I ask of them (mostly). I have a family to love and who love me and I live a good life. There is much to be celebrated at the end of another year on this earth.

But my birthday will always be the day that signals the beginning of the hardest time of the year for me.

I’m not suggesting that you not say “Happy Birthday” if you’d like to but only that you understand why your good wishes may be greeted with a sad smile and an awkward “Thank you”.



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23 thoughts on “Happy Birthday?

  1. What a sad post H. That must be such a difficult time for you, especially with Christmas coming so soon after these traumatic anniversaries. It sounds as if it might have been an accidental death, which would not have prepared you for their loss. Please accept my deepest sympathy. I do hope you are able to enjoy your special day with your family. A big hug. ❤

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  2. Sad things happen to so many and only the remembering of the good things help us through. Ihe sadness never goes but we do learn to live on. May your birthday still bring you joy, no matter how small. A single flake of snow is so beautiful.


  3. I just went back and read the post from last year about your sister. What mountains you have had to climb. I am very sorry for your loss, but I am very very glad you had her in your life. How sad would it have been never to know her or her child? There is nothing I can say that will lessen your pain or fill in the gap she has left in you, I know that, but I wanted to say you are not alone. Because you have shared her here and because of so many other people that have known and loved her and just because she is very much a part of who you are, she is still here and will live on through your writing, yourself, and your children who are molded by you who has Keryn in all you do.


    • Thanks, Barbara. For whatever reason, I am finding the older I get the more I miss her. Perhaps it is the feeling that soon the time I had with her will be less than the time I have had to be without her. Or perhaps as I move through each of life’s challenges I become more acutely aware that she is not there to share them.


      • I know three women, Heather, who have lost a child and one thing they have in common is possession of a terrible internal calendar that ticks off the events of the year in relation to their lost one. The pain seems unendurable to me and yet they soldier on remarkably well. I think it’s only natural as you age that you will realize how much your sister had stolen from her by this terrible accident. And, then, of course the precious baby. I just cannot imagine how your family has survived this and yet, here you all are. Remarkably strong lot, you are.


        • We survived because we had to, I guess. And by holding onto the good memories and looking out for the positives. The beautiful young men my sister’s two sons have become, the closer and deeper relationships, the new connections and experiences. All part of this maelstrom of emotions we call Life.


  4. I will wish you a happy belated birthday, despite the sadness it brings you. It is always so difficult when someone close dies, especially so when it is under tragic circumstances, and especially poignant when it happens around a significant date. My mother died close to my birthday almost 20 years ago and since then I have never felt it to be a celebration. She is always in my heart, but at this time of year she is also in my tears. Be strong H.
    Jude xx


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